Freelance photography isn’t the carefree business that some think. Take the pictures I shot some time ago for an illustrated article on Dungeness in Kent. I got the commission three months before the deadline. Plenty of time, then, to visit the area, gather information and spend a leisurely day taking pictures.
There then followed two months of awful weather. With time running out, and no intention of taking pictures in dull and overcast conditions, I wrote the article from information on the internet, determined to check facts when I shot the pictures.
Two and a half months after the original commission, and with only two weeks to go before the deadline, the BBC weather app, which I find pretty reliable, suggested two days of sunshine the following week. On the first of those two days, with one week to the deadline, I jumped into my car to the two-hour journey to Kent and promptly hit a hold-up on the M25 which meant three hours to drive two junctions. I got to the location more than five hours later, just as clouds began building and obscuring the sun.
There followed two hours of frantic dashing about from one predetermined spot to another, composing the picture, waiting until the sun appeared from behind a cloud, shooting and dashing on. Just after four o’clock, I shot the picture you see here. I thought it would be the best picture of the day, the kind that the magazine might use across two pages with space in the sky for the title and an opening paragraph.
As I pressed the shutter button, the sky clouded over and I spent the next couple of hours in the sudden cold, checking and correcting the facts I had gleaned from the internet. On the way home, there was a ten-mile tailback on the M20.